Virginia Turning Green Legislation Into Green Energy

The population of the state of Virginia is approximately 8.63 million people[1]. In July 2020, state utilities used natural gas (61.0%), nuclear energy (23.6%), coal (9.9%), and renewable energy (5.5%) to generate electricity[2]. Hydropower, biomass and solar are the primary sources of renewable energy in Virginia.

Virginia’s reliance on inexpensive natural gas and renewable energy contribute to state’s below average cost of electricity. In July 2020, the average cost of residential electricity in the state was 12.28 ¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 13.26 ¢ per kWh.

In 2010, the Virginia General Assembly created the Virginia Offshore Wind Energy Development Authority to support the development of the offshore wind industry, beyond the three-mile jurisdictional limit.

In 2018, Governor Northam released a strategic energy plan to modernize the electric grid and set goals for renewable energy generation, energy efficiency and electric vehicles.

In 2020, Virginia joined Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont as a member of a market-based collaborative formed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Virginia is one of 30 states[3] with a renewable portfolio standard (RPS). In 2020, Governor Northam signed into law policies that mandate the state’s utilities to sell 100% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2045.

Recent renewable energy developments in Virginia include:

  • 12 MW Offshore Wind Farm – American power and energy company, Dominion Energy has recently commissioned the first, Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project. The offshore wind farm is located approximately 27 miles off the coastal town of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  • 2,640 MW Offshore Wind Farm – Dominion Energy has begun work on the second, Coastal Virginia Wind project, which is located near the state’s first offshore wind farm. The massive offshore wind farm is scheduled to be commissioned in 2026.
  • 498 MW Solar Projects – Dominion Energy has submitted to Virginia regulators a proposal to develop nine solar projects in the state, which will have a total capacity of 498 MW. Dominion will own and operate three solar projects.

Virginia legislators have taken real action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The state has set a goal of buying 5,200 MW of power from offshore wind farms by 2034. Virginia’s legislation has prompted the state’s largest utility, Dominion Energy to take swift action to meet the clean, green energy goals.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

[1] Virginia Population 2020, World Population Review

[2] U.S. Energy Information Agency – Virginia State Profile and Energy Estimates

[3] National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, April  17, 2020

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